Breaking Into Skin Serums With Kiehl’s Apothecary Preparations

Kiehl’s is known for its simple, iconic packaging and product formulations that just feel fresh. Now the centuries-old brand takes that one step further with Apothecary Preparations, a personalized in-store only skincare service, launched in October. In its original apothecary in New York City, dating back to 1851, Kiehl’s made a name for itself with its founding family creating skin and hair remedies for customers, “using high concentrations of efficacious natural ingredients blended with pharmaceutical actives.” Custom blending continued on for more than 100 years and now it is back for the modern times as part of the Apothecary Preparations program.

After an evaluation, you leave with a customized serum ($95) based on trouble zones and epidermal needs.

First, an associate gives you a dermatologist-inspired Skin Atlas where your skin is evaluated on five categories: lines and wrinkles, skin tone, texture, pores and visible redness—in a one to four importance. Based on the results and your two most significant skin concerns, you get two Targeted Complexes—pharmaceutical meets herbal concentrates—that will comprise a unique formula, added to a Skin Strengthening Concentrate. Options for the complexes alleviate redness, wrinkles, rough texture, large pores and dullness. The complexes are potent and should not be applied to the skin directly.

In my bottle—which came with a personalized label with my name that resembled a prescription—I received the wrinkle and redness complexes. When I got home I mixed the bottle myself by adding the complexes into the Skin Strengthening Concentrate so it was freshly prepared and ready for use. I have been applying it most nights for the last eight weeks and my skin feels hydrated and plump with a more even tone.

And since it is important to know exactly what you are putting on your skin, I discovered that the SSC is composed of squalane, a botanical lipid derived from the olive fruit that coats the skin in a soft way and helps maintain moisture, and skin lipid complex, a blend of oils including apricot, coriander and black currant that are rich in unsaturated fatty acids to offer essential emolliency, skin replenishment and hydration.

The Visible Redness Neutralizing Complex is replete with sunflower seed extract and vitamin E and, according to Kiehl’s lab reports, there were “statistically significant results in the reduction of skin redness at two weeks. This improvement continued, as the reduction in appearance of skin redness more than tripled between weeks two and four.”

With retinol concentrate and pro-retinol, the Wrinkle Reducing Complex aids fine lines with “significant improvement at four weeks. This improvement continued, as the reduction in fine lines doubled between weeks four and eight. Between weeks two and four, the clinical improvement in the appearance of wrinkles tripled, and this improvement quadrupled between weeks four and eight.”

This personalized skincare program provides an ideal solution for those who want to get into skin serums but are unsure of how to start. A serum ideally goes on after you cleanse and tone but before you moisturize. The skin, in theory, holds your moisturizer better with a serum underneath and thanks to these complexes it gets what it needs.